The U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle said the defendants initially planned to attack Joint Base Lewis-McChord but later changed targets. The defendants intended to carry out their attack with both grenades and machine guns, the government said.
"The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home," Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a statement. "This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant."
Abdul-Latif has previous felony convictions for first-degree robbery and custodial assault, as well as misdemeanor convictions for obstructing a law enforcement officer, assault and theft.
When he was prosecuted on the robbery charge in Kitsap County, Wash., in 2002, Abdul-Latif was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation, and despite some "issues" was found competent to participate in his defense, FBI Special Agent Albert C. Kelly III wrote in the complaint.
Abdul-Latif was sentenced to 31 months in prison on that charge. He served from January 2002 until July 2004 for a conviction of first-degree robbery in Kitsap County and a custodial assault in Walla Walla County, and committed two serious infractions while in custody — assault in 2002 and fighting in 2004, said state Corrections Department spokesman Chad Lewis.
"There is nothing in Davis' records that indicates that he converted to Islam while he was in prison," Lewis said in an email.
Mujahidh does not appear to have a criminal record, the complaint said.
In a bankruptcy filing from a month ago, Abdul-Latif reported assets of about $3,000 and liabilities of about $6,000. He reported that about $2,000 in monthly income from a janitorial business was entirely nullified by the expenses of operating Fresh and Clean Janitorial. His wife, identified as Binta Moussa, was earning about $1,200 a month, according to court documents but that wasn't enough to cover their costs of living.
Steve Dashiak, a bankruptcy attorney representing Abdul-Latif, told The Associated Press he was stunned by the developments, and that his client seemed like a regular man.
"I sensed no ill will from him whatsoever," Dashiak said. "He seemed like a guy just trying to make it, having a rough time because business wasn't going very well. To say that I didn't see this coming would be an understatement."
A sign on the door of Abdul-Latif's apartment read in part: "In the Name of Allah we enter, in the name of Allah we leave, and upon our lord we depend."
Potential recruits came and left as normal at the military processing center Thursday. Children and adults were having a barbecue behind a fence at the same building.
Army Corps of Engineers Col. Anthony Wright, commander of the Seattle district and senior official for the building, said he was kept informed about the threat and made some changes in security as a precaution.
"I've spent about three years in Iraq. It's a little different to feel it here in Seattle, but it's part of the world we live in," he said.
Gene Johnson can be reached at http://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle
Counterterrorism reporter Eileen Sullivan contributed to this story from Washington.
Mike Baker contributed from Olympia, Wash., and can be reached at http://twitter.com/MikeBakerAP .
Manuel Valdes contributed from Seattle and can be reached at http://twitter.com/manevaldes
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